I’ve always thought that being a stripper was a few rungs up the my-life’s-in-the-toilet chain from being a hooker. “Excuse me, I’m not a prostitute,” seems an angry point of pride for many “dancers.” Apparently, though, it is all contextual. This summer I was re-schooled on the matter when I heard a prostitute angrily say, “Excuse me, I’m not a stripper!” I was attending an epically ridiculous 4-day bachelor party for my friend (shall we say) Bill in Barcelona. Bill lives overseas and rolls with a pretty ballin’ crowd (of which I was the non-ballin’ black sheep), so the idea of rolling into a regular strip club wasn’t on their agenda. Strippers would come to us at the condo we’d rented. I knew I was well out of my depth when I walked into the condo’s living room to discover my buddy’s friends laying down blankets on the floor… “Are we planning to kill the strippers?” I ask. “This is so they’ll be comfortable.” “For what?” “A kissy-kissy show,” one foreign guy said. “I see,” I said as I decided I was not even remotely drunk enough.

So several beers later, me and fourteen other dudes are huddled around the plasma TV in the well-padded living room, watching the World Cup, when there was a knock at the door. Everyone stood up at once. The look on this poor Spanish girl’s face when she saw this epic fancy-dressed-sausage-fest standing on a sea of blankets was sheer terror; it was a “I’ve seen American Psycho” face. Visions of being whipped with a coat hanger and rolled for dead from a limo clearly ran through this girl’s mind. She promptly left, despite the best attempts of Pete, our stripper wrangler. About ten minutes later the second girl finally showed up, and this time we made sure to fan out across the condo to avoid stabbing fear into this one’s heart too. Stripper 2, let’s call her Ivanka, stayed. Pete tried to get her to invite another girl over, but we were staring down an approaching dinner reservation, so we didn’t have time to fuck around too much (no kissy-kissy show for us). A chair was set up near the TV for Bill to sit on and receive his super bachelor party lapdance. This is when we made an crucial discovery… Ivanka wasn’t a stripper. She was a prostitute.

Pete, bless his debauched soul, made what I’d called a PS3 Upgrade Decision. If you need a Blu-Ray player, why not just get a PS3 so you can play games too? Pete figured - why get two strippers and try and talk them into lezzing out for us, when he could just get two hookers to do it? A reasonable move, I suppose, except Ivanka found the idea of dancing for us unacceptably demeaning. So unacceptable did she find this idea that she tried bargaining with us. Whichever of us wanted to fuck her could - for no extra charge. That’s right, she was willing to fuck 15 guys, but wouldn’t take her clothes off in front of us. We all got our priorities. No one took her up on the offer. Bill needed a lapdance. The next half-hour was a blur of awkward tension. Bill’s German friend pulled Ivanka aside to literally teach her some lap-dancing moves, which I then had to watch Ivanka attempt to perform (fully clothed) on Bill. I should also note that the Europeans demanded we leave the World Cup on the TV. So here’s Ivanka giving Bill the most pathetic lapdance I’ve ever seen, trying to get Bill to just take her upstairs and boink her (which he won’t do), while the rest of the guys are watching soccer.

I’ve always been happy when an employer asks me to perform a lesser task, but I could tell that Ivanka’s ego was wounded by the fact that none of us wanted to have sex with her. And forcing her to give that lapdance seemed like it was the worst thing that had happened to her all week. I guess maybe it’s a little like asking a carpenter to fix your plumbing. Career pride? Now whenever I drive past a man or woman working their trade on the street I have to wonder if they console themselves at night thinking, “At least I’ve stayed off the pole.” P.S. – Pete ended up boning Ivanka. A true humanitarian.

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